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Spot FX Day Trading: The Jigsaw


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Spot FX Day Trading: The Jigsaw

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  #101 (permalink)
 mokodo 
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Non-trading life has taken over the last few weeks. I think it has been a month since my last live trade. This period off has brought yet more reflection and I have decided to severely tinker with my trading plan. I am stuck in a breakeven stage and I feel I need a jolt to get some traction - even though I have tried my damnedest to NOT CHANGE ANYTHING! At some point though if it ain't working, it's got to change.

I have taken a critical look at my development over the last 3 years with a view to keep in the good stuff and get out the bad, and then see what the gaps are.
  • I have kept my with trend set-up based on a turn in the MACD histogram - just speeded up the two averages to a 3/10
  • My volatility breakout set-up stays as is
  • In comes a false breakout reversal based on Wyckoff springs/upthurst
  • And in comes Wyckoff context assessment to put some specific labels the preceding few days PA (which includes some tick volume)
  • Making an effort to run an 350 tick chart alongside my usual 15 minute charts, just to see which I fall for.
Everyting else stays pretty much as is, but there is enough changed to warrant starting off in SIM for at least 2 weeks, perhaps longer, if I feel it necessary. And it will be a few weeks before I can get back trading at all.

Without cranking-up the performance anxiety too much, the next spell of trading feels like 'make or break'. Because of some changes in my life I will soon have an opportunity to trade for a protracted period without getting called away for weeks or months at a time - which has been the pattern in the last year. I am getting myself ready to go for it.

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  #102 (permalink)
 Adamus 
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Good luck!

The only stuff I can say about indicators - or in fact trading - is to be sure you know why you are changing. OK I admit it's not as though I'm a trading master passing down pearls of wisdom here, but I am seeking the same things that those masters seek, I believe.

In other words, I don't think you are justified in changing things just because they don't work. Why did you expect them to work in the first place, and what's changed since then?

Something to mull over while you're not trading

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  #103 (permalink)
 mokodo 
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Adamus View Post
Good luck!

The only stuff I can say about indicators - or in fact trading - is to be sure you know why you are changing. OK I admit it's not as though I'm a trading master passing down pearls of wisdom here, but I am seeking the same things that those masters seek, I believe.

In other words, I don't think you are justified in changing things just because they don't work. Why did you expect them to work in the first place, and what's changed since then?

Something to mull over while you're not trading

I am not a 'chop and changer'. This falls into the evolution not revolution pot, that said even small changes to my trading routine or approach seem like earthquakes. But I like the question, who knows when another day/week/month would make all the difference to get that final piece of the puzzle? I tend to look at the worse case scenario. Which in this case is: trying what feels like sound adjustments in SIM for a period, if they work out go with it, if not come back home. I've lost perhaps some time (and no money) to find out.

The process has sort of gone like this...

1. Use indicators only
2. Factor in context and market structure more and more
3. Keep indicators but now have a raft of discretionary factors drawn from context as to take trades based on the original signals or not.
4. Spot entries and exits based on the context and PA rather than indi's - but don't take them due not to being in my plan.
5. Add to / adjust / drop current based set-ups based on all acquired knowledge and learning to date.
6 Possibly repeat steps 1-5

So to answer your question 'what's changed' I suppose an answer is I have changed. I have gotten to the point where I trust myself to make good calls but some of my current set-ups feel wrong. I now believe understanding the bigger picture, market structure, context, etc is - for me - most of 'it'. The entries and exits 10% or so? So I do not feel I am really changing too much but it feels like the vital element right now.

All I am losing is time, and whilst I feel pressure to get some more solid results within the next 6 months or so, I'm beginning to know and trust myself more and more. And I am not getting too hung up about being wrong either - and I may well be wrong here, but I can handle the downside.

So yes a bit uncomfortable and unsure. I'll do the test, compare results and take things from there.

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  #104 (permalink)
 mokodo 
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Thought I'd pop in an and update my journal. I've nearly finished a revamp of my trading plan after a prolonged layoff and I will be back trading as from Monday 3rd June. I have pretty much cleared the decks of other work commitments for a few months.

There have been changes, but nothing too drastic. Main change is I'll be day trading just one instrument (EURUSD) and swing trading a few other currency pairs.

Biggest change is that I went off and learned how to trade! In the last year or so I had been leaning more and more toward market structure and 'context' and have adopted the Wyckoff method as a way to speak that language. This has added volume to my chart reading and, well, it's made a difference.

Looking forward immensely to getting back in the groove. So probably SIM for a few week or two and then tiny steps live.

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  #105 (permalink)
 Adamus 
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Sounds good, looking forward to comparing notes. What times are you going to day trade?

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  #106 (permalink)
 mokodo 
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London open to 15:30 GMT as a window, but looking primarily to the London and US opens for volatility to ride

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  #107 (permalink)
 mokodo 
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I drew on the areas where I would be looking for trades last night during the Asia session (dark blue bands). There were two great big bull bars (60 min chart) yesterday with the largest consecutive range of anything on my chart. That means something so I was not looking for short trades unless we held under the lower band (last week's high). Price had drifted down from yesterday's high and was making less progress with each little push, rejecting the supply line with some decent volume at the London open. There was a little spring in my lower band so I wanted a low volume secondary test to get long on. I took that trade with a MACDh signal with a stop under the prior low. After holding for 9 bars I brought my stop up to BE and was taken out on the next swing.

Lots of efforts and little reward on the drive up to the day's high. each time price made a new high for the day it did not capitalise on it, in fact often suffering a 2 bar reversal to take out the previous bar lows. If price had upthrusted yesterday's high in the upper band I could have shorted - but it never got there. The breakdown came at the US open through the reverse trend channel (dotted line) with ease of movement and stopped right on the breakout level from yesterday. Buyers overcame sellers again at this level. I did not take it, but this could have been a nice spring setup.

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  #108 (permalink)
 Adamus 
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What's a reverse trend channel line? That dotted line is horizontal, that's what throws me.

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  #109 (permalink)
 mokodo 
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Adamus View Post
What's a reverse trend channel line? That dotted line is horizontal, that's what throws me.

Hi Adamus,

Actually this was the demand line (touching the lows in an uptrend, i.e. where demand comes in), sorry I mis-annoted it. A reverse trend line would be where you connect the highs in an uptrend (or lows in a downtrend) and make a parallel to fit the other side. It's just another option for framing price action.

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  #110 (permalink)
 mokodo 
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Pretty much the same trade as yesterday. I had one eye on the clock as I knew the ADP numbers were due out and I hoped I may get to lock in a profit before the release. I closed 5 minutes before the release for a scratch. I didn't take the upthrust as it was too wild for me and sat out the rest of session.

How's this range going to be resolved?

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 Adamus 
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Thought I'd pop in an and update my journal. I've nearly finished a revamp of my trading plan after a prolonged layoff and I will be back trading as from Monday 3rd June. I have pretty much cleared the decks of other work commitments for a few months.

There have been changes, but nothing too drastic. Main change is I'll be day trading just one instrument (EURUSD) and swing trading a few other currency pairs.

Biggest change is that I went off and learned how to trade! In the last year or so I had been leaning more and more toward market structure and 'context' and have adopted the Wyckoff method as a way to speak that language. This has added volume to my chart reading and, well, it's made a difference.

Looking forward immensely to getting back in the groove. So probably SIM for a few week or two and then tiny steps live.


Hi Mokodo,

what volume are you using? If Wyckof needs volume, you'll have problems using it on the interbank forex market, surely?

On another subject, I was considering the feasilbility of putting on a position trade at the end of my session to benefit from days like today - since I'm doing the higher time-frame analysis anyway, I figure I could wrap up my session by working out if there's a good trade to be had on the hourly time-frame. Is that something that you do with your swing trades?

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  #112 (permalink)
 mokodo 
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My long bias paid off today.

First trade was a scratch. A poor entry as I was afraid I was going to miss the move as price had seemed to break up and hold above my upper band of the last few days. I hadn't completed my morning prep and jumped in. Price was over bought in the channel, the proper entry was 10 pips lower. I sat through one rotation and as price accepted the demand line was fortunate to get out with a couple of pips loss (stop was 15 pips). I got out as I did not see any demand coming in. Again I had thought perhaps we may get a bit of a swing in before the malaise prior to BOE, ECB rates and the Euro press conference.

Price held above the previous resistance (now support) all morning with a spring off that level as the press conference got going. I stood aside of that set-up as it was very fast and hoped for a low volume pull back to get long on. Missed that too as it was a spike down.

I did get long on the first MACDh entry after the retracement came back to 50% of the breakout leg, testing the breakout area and sitting right on top of the high put in in the London open. Buyers fought hard to absorb the sellers and it took three pushes down before a nice pop with a bull bar which took out the highs of the previous five bars. At this point I set my profit targets and walked away. I managed 75 pips of the move, missing the last 75. 3R winner and happy with that.

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  #113 (permalink)
 mokodo 
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Hi Mokodo,

what volume are you using? If Wyckof needs volume, you'll have problems using it on the interbank forex market, surely?

On another subject, I was considering the feasilbility of putting on a position trade at the end of my session to benefit from days like today - since I'm doing the higher time-frame analysis anyway, I figure I could wrap up my session by working out if there's a good trade to be had on the hourly time-frame. Is that something that you do with your swing trades?

Hi Adamus,

Oh the thorny question of FX volume. I didn't go near it in the past for the well known reasons. The volume I use is tick volume (trade activity) and I think it is a fair reflection of the activity. I'm learning to use it in relative rather than absolute terms, which is the reason for the wave volume indicator. I've compared MB Trading to FXCM data and the two are close enough for me to trust the MBT data on a swing by swing basis. I also refer to the CME EURUSD futures volume (available with a delay free from the CME site). David Weis uses tick volume in the FX market for his volume. If it's good enough for him....

https://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1110646200653-206/June-6-2013.pdf

(see page two of this study on GBPJPY for an example, these are freely available at David Weis' site https://www.weisonwyckoff.com)

Yes, the swing trades idea came from the exact same thinking. If I was doing the HTF stuff as part of my prep, then why not trade on those time frames for the longer swings? That said I am still working up a routine to put some longer term trades on - should be done by next week.

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  #114 (permalink)
 Adamus 
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Oh right, I hadn't heard of that. Interactive Brokers has some volume but it comes from their limited system and doesn't encompass the whole market (obviously). I have FXCM for historical data (because IB is so crap) - how did they compare to MBT?

On the position trades, I figured I would aim to use the same methodology, but also look into the idea of putting on a trade to exit on the close. Haven't had a chance to check into that more yet, either. I figured on trend days it could be useful.

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 mokodo 
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Oh right, I hadn't heard of that. Interactive Brokers has some volume but it comes from their limited system and doesn't encompass the whole market (obviously). I have FXCM for historical data (because IB is so crap) - how did they compare to MBT? .

I just compared the two to assess how much similarity there may be to the tick volume. Tick for tick it is rarely that similar but over longer time spans (5 min+), they seem to be roughly the same. Same for the CME volume on the EURUSD futures vs MBT.

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  #116 (permalink)
 mokodo 
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No trading for me on Friday - don't tend to trade NFP days.

My prep said long today. We have retraced 50% of the big swing from Thursday and have been making less and less progress on the downswings. My two areas of interest are the blue bands. I was looking for set-ups in the blue areas, long off the bottom or long on a break and pull back to the upper band.

The spring at 08:20BST was before my trading session started (start 10am on Mondays). However after the Axis line held there was ease of movement back down into the lower band - which I didn't like and perhaps made me a bit nervous during the trade I took shortly after. I took my long at a no supply bar plus a pip or two to get clear of the tight range that had formed. There was one more little low volume retest of the low and then a swing up. I allowed one rotation and after 10 bars went to what I thought was the swing low and was taken out for a scratch.

The break came shortly after, there was a nice 3 pushes into yesterday low with buyers taking all they could and then pop - up a quick 40 pips through the upper resistance. Alas without me on board. I stood aside as I was more than a bit peeved I had stalked a trade all day and scratched it. But pleased with the analysis. I'll take a pullback the upper band if it sets-up, there is a fair amount of accumulation to act as fuel for higher prices if we can hold on top of the axis line at 1.3230.

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  #117 (permalink)
 Adamus 
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Bad luck on the trade, especially after taking that much heat at the start. In hindsight do you think it was a mistake or just tough luck? Managing a position is one of my many weak points

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 mokodo 
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So I did take the trade on top of my upper band. Carbon copy of the previous one.



Adamus View Post
Bad luck on the trade, especially after taking that much heat at the start. In hindsight do you think it was a mistake or just tough luck? Managing a position is one of my many weak points

Thank you for your question

Both these trades were the same. I got in early and out early. I actually feel comfortable getting in early as the background was showing strong support for the levels and my stops were tucked underneath. It is the process of holding the trades after say 20 minutes whilst they 'brew' that I struggled with yesterday. I no longer have a mandatory time based stop in my trading plan, but I used to and think I am reverting to this as a way to get out of the discomfort of holding a non-performing trade. Add to that, that I always think that taking a scratch trade is OK and I talked myself out of both of these trades.

A quick review of recent trades would suggest I could do better with a set and forget, waiting for my stop or profit target to be hit, or, my preference, work on timing better entries.

However, capital preserved, much learned and start again with a clean slate today.

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  #119 (permalink)
 mokodo 
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Ignore the first trade noted here. I am using my MBT demo account for June, but the accounts did not load this morning, so used NT SIM account, I used the first trade to check it was working OK.

So the story of the day...

I didn't have a bias either way today. My upper and lower bands are at the Asian session high and low. I could see signs of weakness coming in after we up-thrusted the HOD, with ease of movement down. I took an entry on a no demand bar. But the trade got stuck at the same level price broke clear in the run up to the HOD. I held on as I wanted to see what price did next. There was a promising little upthrust, but it failed to break down. The wide range down bar was erased on a potential spring set-up so I closed for a couple of pips loss. The break-down came shortly afterwards, a failed run at the HOD with a reversal bar being the best entry.

Second trade was a flop. My idea was for price to hold under the lower band, for a another leg down. I got in on a no demand bar, but in hindsight (oh cruel, cruel hindsight), could clearly see why this was a bad call. Firstly, this level is where lots of demand came in yesterday (see the big green wave far left of the middle indicator panel) so if buyers were so committed then, they may well put up a fight again today - and this is around the 50% retracement of the previous swing. Full stop of 15 pips there, but all was not lost...

3rd trade took advantage of the situation. Biggest demand of the day off the lows and I got long on a MACDh / no supply signal. First target was at the upper band and I decided to hold to see if we had enough ummmph to hold above resistance. Price came back and took me out on the demand line.

Ended up on the day by the skin of my teeth.

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 Adamus 
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sorry, just another stupid question: what's a no demand bar?

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 mokodo 
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sorry, just another stupid question: what's a no demand bar?

Lots of the shorthand comes from David Weis. See his site Learn the Richard Wyckoff Method of Trading from David H. Weis , there are archives going back a year of daily chart analysis. His book is also excellent 'Trades About To Happen'. I follow Trevor's journal here on futures.io (formerly BMT) . Trevor has also done a futures.io (formerly BMT) webinar which is in the training video section. Do a search for Dr. Gary Dayton who also a respected Wyckoff trader/teacher.

And if you have the stomach for it all this stems from original works by Wyckoff. There are a few books and at least two courses I know of. The two courses are out of copyright and are freely available - sorry lost the links, but Google will no doubt help you out there. I would recommend going to the source as there is much wisdom in 100 year old knowledge!

And to answer your question: a no demand bar is a low volume pull back after a convincing high volume directional move. It says the buyers/sellers tried to reverse but quickly failed. In the graph it is shown in middle indicator panel as a 1 or 2 bar histogram wave after a larger opposing wave.

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 mokodo 
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Naughty, naughty. I was up late last night and had not completed my morning prep by the London open. I said to myself, no trading until the prep is done. And then promptly jumped in on a trade. And was promptly run over for a full stop. Just desserts for trying to cut corners.

I then took a breather, completed the prep and said I would just look to recoup the loss and spend the rest of the day finishing off an indicator. And that, at least went my way.

The winner is at the US open. The morning down move shows shortening the thrust into the LOD, the large down wave shows the lack of reward for the effort expended in grabbing a mere 7 extra pips. Prior to that there was demand coming in in the prior two waves. The low volume pullback after the first demand wave off the lows told me an upmove may be starting and I got long on the next no supply bars - using the first big bull bar kicking of the second wave as more evidence.

Clearly holding for a retest of the days high would have netted a decent winner, but I wanted out of the market quickly so I could finish off the coding work. Again ending the day just a whisker in the green.

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 mokodo 
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No trading yesterday or today. Finalised tweaks to a couple of indi's, finished off some homework updating my daily tick list and trading plan. Race ready for next week. Brmm, brmm

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 mokodo 
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Happy to stay out of this mush today

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 mokodo 
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Two trades today. The first was an attempted short. The rationale was based on a possible buy climax on the drive up after the London open low put in at 1.3325. I couldn't see this going for another leg up. There was shortening of the thrust on the next two highs and I shorted the upthrust (after it appeared the minor spring has failed). There was one more rotation to make a double top. I did not expect this and it put me on a more cautious footing. The upwave was slightly heavier potentially overturning my idea that the upmove had exhausted itself. I scratched the trade after it came back.

The trade I missed for being too late and too cautious was the long at the lower high 1.3340 at the US Open. The wave down was as a result of news (US CPI numbers) and it looked like an empty move to me - so I expected it to reverse. The spring at the reverse trend demand line would have been the entry. But I was not confident or fast enough to commit to it.

My other trade was the next leg of that upmove, which showed some solid demand on the wave. There was three pushes down after the move met resistance at the HOD (1.34 handle) and I got long on the third set of no supply bars. My idea was that we may get a measured move of the first leg, 60 pips or so, which against my 15 pip stop is a sound return. Downside was that it was getting late and there was potential resistance from a couple of trend lines coming in over 1.3410. I closed it off for a 1R winner at 19:00 GMT.

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 Adamus 
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Hi Mokodo,
do your trade stats support a 1:1 RR ratio? I mean, what's your win:loss ratio? If you don't mind me asking.

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 mokodo 
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Hi @Adamus,

No, my current trade plan is to only consider trades with a potential minimum reward 3x risk. I will also only consider potential trades where the stop is <20% of the current 14 period daily ATR. I am after decent sized intraday swings, or just to get on and hold on to trend days. That's the purpose of the upper and lower bands I draw on pre session. These are the areas I think are going to be important for range or breakout - and therefore the most likely place where the two stated criteria may be fulfilled.

The trade I closed off this evening had targets at 1.3430-40, with an entry at 1.3390 on a 15 pip stop, but it was pretty clear to me that I was out of time and momentum was drying up quickly, so I just closed it out.

Regarding stats, too early to say as I am SIM-ing my amended trade plan for June to find my feet with it. But so far win rate is 31%, payoff ratio is 4.8:1 profit factor 1.49. As it's based on 13 trades I can safely say it will change a lot!

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 mokodo 
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Stood aside today - I don't trade news - as predictably quiet until FOMC, then a swift 150 pip drop in EURUSD. We should see some trade-able volatility coming back into the Euro.

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 mokodo 
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Not that pretty today, but not all bad either...

After the fireworks post FOMC yesterday my plan was to be at my desk an hour earlier than usual to do my morning prep, I smelt a trend day and wanted in early. My own fault, I just didn't get up in time.

As I completed the prep I saw the entry pass me by. That is a no demand / MACDh entry at 08:10BST. The largest down wave of the day followed adding to my bearish bias. I did get short on the next MACHh signal as after it failed to get to the supply line of the trend channel. This trade got into profit pretty quickly but then signs of strength came in: possible sell climax, very little additional ground made with that down wave (indicating a lack of reward for the effort), a key reversal bull bar off the low, etc.

After the break of the downward trend channel I was looking to reverse my position on the next signal. I did that and banked the 1R winner. My idea was that the signs of strength would lead to a change of behaviour - long. I had some other things to do so set my targets and stops and left for the day, at this point I thought with US traders coming into play - and the US session has been the most active for the Euro lately - a directional move could get some momentum and I set my targets around the low and close of yesterday. Didn't play out like that and the second trade was scratched.

Whilst I was not trading the afternoon, there was lovely set up after the news spike to the LOD. Largest demand wave of the day comes in, a low volume pull back and MACDh entry signal that would have been good for 50 pips off a 15 pip stop.

So a bit peeved today. There were two great looking trades today, one I missed as I was late getting to my desk and the other as I was not trading. But not an easy day to read either with lots and volume and news releases. Once the dust settles through the Asian sessions, may be a bit smoother tomorrow and the early part of next week.

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 mokodo 
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Kicking myself tonight. My pre session said this is short all day long. We were at 50% of the latest downswing the up waves since then showing little ease of movement. There was shortening of the thrust in the Asian sessions upwaves too. At the London open I also saw the lack of reward for the latest upswing as a lower high was forming. I have run stats on the EURUSD and know that a double top (or within +/- 10 pips of it) increases the chances of a bear trend day. So I got in - but prior to my signal which was after the next minor high. Knowing I had not entered correctly I got out and scratched the trade - but then could not pull the trigger for the proper entry. Perhaps my thinking was just a bit off after the mistake?

I had another signal at the start of the US Open but didn't take it - that was a MACDh entry on a retest of the ice, just before the big swing of the day. I don't know why I didn't take that either? I think I rationalised myself out of it as we were well off the highs of the day and thought perhaps we may not get through yesterday's low (my lower band).

Then I wandered right off the reservation at the end of the day and went long where I thought we were going to accept yesterday's low and come up to test yesterday's close. This trade was not in my daily game plan or a rule based set-up. The result - a timely slap on the cheek with a swift full stop. This was so 'obviously' a bear flag and potential measured move into the close.

This really was potentially a excellent day for my method as there were three great set-ups on offer. The man in the mirror had the issues today.

I have taken 17 trades since my re-start and have OK stats considering I'm getting into the swing of an amended trading plan. And the issues to work on are pretty clear too. 1. Stick to the daily game plan. 2. Don't over think the trades. So focus on that next week.

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 mokodo 
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Nothing for me today. I could see signs of strength coming in as we were not making much further downward progress (shortening of the downward thrust) and there was a possible sell climax at the US open, followed by the largest demand wave since the breakdown last week. This put me on my toes for possible longs - but the bulls need to prove themselves and we have not yet held a close outside the supply line on my 60 min chart or jumped across the creek.

My pre-session game plan said to go long after a change of behaviour (which would need ease of upward movement through my upper band (creek) and a retest to hold on top. Or short a breakdown and retest under my lower band. Neither happened and we played around on yesterday's low all session. Gearing up for a move of sorts so I'll be watching what happens around the edge of the range.

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 mokodo 
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Was messy with my execution today, but ended up in the green. Could have taken more out of the market as my game plan and upper and lower bands were spot on.

I had a long bias once I had completed my pre-session prep. There was lots of signs of strength coming in yesterday and through the Asian sessions. 07:00BST was a great long (but too early for me), there was no ease of movement down since the early Asian sessions high, right into a confluence of an axis line and demand line - and with a spring entry too. That would have been good for 40 pips or so to retest the Asian high and could of had a very tight stop for a decent R:R.

The long I did take was at around 50% of that leg entering on a MACDh signal - my idea was as there was strength in the background and we had shown good demand on the last two waves chances were fair for a trend day to test some the recent downmove. After we failed to advance past HOD and I spotted the shortening of the upward thrust I scratched the trade for a BE.

Price was caught in a range between yesterday's high and close until the US Open. I could see the effort and no reward as lower highs were being put in - and there was a violation of the demand line of my 60min chart. Signs of weakness were coming in and I was itching to short at the failed retest of the HOD, but did not have a valid signal. Price then broke and knifed through support at my lower band (ice level). Then I wanted to short the retest. The first attempt my signal was late and my entry was way off the ideal levels so I scratched it and waited for a another signal. I then took a MACDh signal (around the same level). My stops was within 1 pip of being taken out, but I sat through it and let the trade have a chance for the next few hours. Signs of strength coming in later in the session and it did not look like we would get a test of yesterday's low so I came out at just under a 1R winner.

Feel like I left a lot on the table today, but was in the groove and am happy with that.

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 mokodo 
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We had dropped well under yesterday's close through the Asian session, so I had a short bias after doing my morning prep - although at this point there was a chance we were putting in a base around 1.3065, so I was open to potential longs if a there was an overt change in behaviour.

There was decent demand coming in through the London open but my game plan was to go short unless we broke my upper band. My short was after we rejected yesterday's close and had broken support / ice level through my lower band. I then got short on a retest on a MACDh signal. In hindsight my stop was too generous, above the previous high, I could have been more aggressive with a tighter stop. Steady but not breakaway progress for the next 2 hours and whilst support was flipping to resistance on the steps down, there was shortening of the thrust which put me on alert for the down move to be overturned. My first target was at the oversold line of the trend channel. My second taken out as price slowly reversed.

There is a sizeable demand wave which turned this low and a coupe of no supply bars which I did not take as I wasn't convinced bulls were yet in charge. News then helped to spike price up and I saw enough to take a long at around 50% of that initial upwave. Once we did not break the earlier ice level I figured there were still sellers there and scratched the trade.

I was looking for a short signal thereafter but did not get one until the break of the earlier low at 1.3015 but did not have a good enough R:R so passed on the trade.

A positive day with 1.6R returned, but as I say could have been more if I was more aggressive with my stop placement/position size.

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 Adamus 
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Good trading, I like it.

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 mokodo 
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Nothing for me today. My upper band was at the ice level of yesterday and the lower at yesterday's close, a 45 pip range. My game plan today was to believe the downtrend remained intact but to be watchful of a possible change of behaviour - as there have been signs of strength coming in. After the bulls inability to make significant higher highs through the London open I was looking for shorts, but could only do so after a drop through and failed test of yesterday's low. It never came and nor did a break and hold above 1.3050, my upper band which would have allowed longs.

A tricky day to attempt to trade IMO.

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 mokodo 
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Closed the month without another trade. I was waiting for either a clear lower high under yesterday's high for a short or, my preference, longs after a higher low above yesterday's high.

Feature of the day is a monster of a demand wave that built for 2.5 hours that ran up to test the HOD. I could not tell if this is lack of result for the effort exerted or legitimate and steady buying. Given the context and the trend for the day I thought the odds were with the later, so I was looking for a long signal on a retest of the creek (at the upper band). The next retracement was shallow and close to the HOD, so I passed. OK with that decision as price action felt odd today (perhaps end of month/quarter money flows?) and I was not really feeling on the ball.

Will be doing my stats for the month and will post those up when I get a chance.

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 mokodo 
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I scratched a lot of trades last month and the stats look odd because of that:

Based on 22 trades: win rate 32%, payoff 4.5:1, profit factor 1.44

I took trades on 11 days and was up on 6 of them. My pain ratio (MFE:MAE) was 2.1:1. I took full stops on 3 trades and hit either my first or both my first and second target 5 times (4 first target only, 1 both targets).

Money terms would have been about a 1.5% return of starting capital for the month.

I plan to be more confident and aggressive in July, I passed on trades too often and scratched others too early. I know this will come as my confidence in my amended trading plan grows. But I do need to push myself out of my comfort zone. I will also be spending less time actively trading. After doing my prep and game plan I will focus on London and US open. I think about 6 hours a day is my limit for screen time before my alertness slips.

And of course the big change will be going to cash from SIM. I'll be risking 0.3% of my trading account per trade for July.

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 mokodo 
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Not pleased with myself. I had not fully completed my prep or game plan and took a trade. My bias on the day was long and I was looking for an entry after demand came in the US open. I was holding as the ISM numbers came out - against my trade plan, and I could have scratched the trade for a pip or two loss at that point. I held and took a full stop. After the threatening bear bars following the news release failed to turn the price lower, price turned to test the earlier highs

When I break one rule it is so much easier to break another. I think my eagerness to be more 'aggressive' may have been at the bottom of this error today.

I took myself out of the game after accepting I had strayed badly off my plan. Clean slate for tomorrow.

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 Adamus 
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Yes I find the errors cause a chain reaction. It's always the minor errors that don't cause any financial loss which start it off and lead to a "real" error.

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 mokodo 
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Missed the breakdown at the London open, I was waiting for a pull back to the ice level which never came. I then passed on a signal for the measured move lower. The R:R didn't look great and my game plan was a range playing out between 1.2990 and 1.3100.

I took a long as signs of strength came in at my lower band. It was a low volume second test of the spring at the day's low. I held on the basis that if buyers could overcome sellers at the top of the earlier congestion (also 50% of the swing) at around 1.3035 we could see a retest of yesterday's close / high or even the HOD for a 3:1 R:R against my initial 20 pip stop.

Sellers won the battle and my stop was taken out for a 1R winner. Good patience today to wait for the set-up to form.

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 mokodo 
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Just wasn't in the groove today. After doing my pre-session prep I had no feel for price action so called it a day after an hour or so. Turns out it was an excellent day for listening to tennis on the radio, gardening and playing with the kids. With the holidays and NFP's on Friday I may just take a few more hours out and come back fresh and lively next Monday.

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 mokodo 
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Game plan today was to wait for a pull back to the creek level (blue band) and then get long. ADX was well into exhaustion for the current down move so my bias was tentatively long - as long we traded above yesterday's close. There were two big demand waves early in the day which set the tone.

I did get long but was wary as the down-wave into creek level showed ease of downward movement, so I waited for another down wave to assess things. That showed no selling pressure so I got in with a stop under the most recent HL. I scratch the trade after 7 bars as there was no ease of upward movement and the recent context was not convincingly bullish.

I passed on another long later in the day as the R:R was not appealing and to be honest there was little ease of upward movement for the whole day. Price is now testing the breakdown level from last Friday.

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 mokodo 
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A tale of two stop losses today. The first was a good stop out. My game plan was to go long with a HL on top of yesterday's high (my upper band). I had a long bias today (wrong but I'll get to that later) as there was decent volume on yesterday 6E futures contract with no following through of the Friday's breakdown. I figured this indicated buying. There were other factors that indicated to me that we may be due a reversal of sorts.

Once price broke below my upper band I was still looking for longs but not until price would have reached the lower band (an axis line of earlier resistance turning into support). This was were I did not follow my game plan and took a spring and was stopped again. Funny how a bias effects judgment. I was viewing the slow grinding progress down as evidence that there was continued buying in the background. Compare the ease of movement up earlier in the session (50 pips in 2 hours), to the 6 hours decline and we were still not at the earlier low. This compounded my directional bias and triggered me to enter early. What I did see but did not assess as this price action was unfolding was that all but two of the largest tick volume waves were all demand waves. The supply waves were smaller. This is opposite to what is expected on a decline. I think this shows repeated lack of reward for the effort to take prices higher on each up wave; more likely this was hidden distribution - which would help explain the breakdown after the US open.

The correct set up long would have been price accepting the lower band and springing off that level after showing a change of behaviour to long - in practice a substantial demand wave and ease of upward movement. Something that did not happen and would have kept me out of the trade. At the time I believed these things were in place but they were not.

This has been a wake-up call for me. I write a game plan pre-session which puts in the upper and lower bands. This is where I want to do business, typically trading where price accepts or rejects these levels (the only exception is a on a trend day where I can get on retracements). The game plan is not typically biased for long or short trades. So the question I am asking myself is: what value is there in bringing a daily bias? It would be simpler to write my game plan, put in my levels and trade the set-ups based on the price action of the session.

With 2 stops I was coming close to my daily drawdown limit so I walked away. That was the right thing to do.

The image below shows what then happened. Price broke through my lower band and my game plan was to take shorts on a pull back to the ice level. Had I not taken the second trade I would have still been trading I believe I could have taken this short and turned the day around. But would I have taken it given the strength of my directional bias - which was proved incorrect?


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 mokodo 
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Did my job well today. After we jumped the creek in the London open (middle band) I was looking for longs. First trade was a long on a MACDh retracement. I had worked out we had 3 legs in this move since the LOD so didn't allow it to stew. If there was momentum left in the move I wanted to see it quickly as the third leg up was showing diminishing tick volume on the upwave. I gave it one rotation and came out for a scratch.

Second trade was an attempted short. The high of the day at this point was a potential upthrust and there were some signs of weakness coming in. There was the largest supply wave of the day and some ease of movement to the downwaves too The highest band was were we broke down yesterday so if sellers were still around they would most likely defend this level.

I keep stats on the frequency of various highs and lows of the day and where there is a double top in the London open and morning session there is a 54% likelihood of putting in a daily low in the afternoon or early Asian session - providing that high holds. In practice this would be a reversal day triggered by the increased volume at the US open. So the trade idea was to put in a stop above the high and sit through the session to see if we would test yesterday's low. I entered after a low volume secondary test of the upthrust. The trade didn't get moving and I allowed one rotation and came out for a marginal loser. The potential R:R on this trade was very favourable so I am happy I took it. What actually happen was the more probably play - where the LOD is in the late Asian session (i.e. pre London open), the likelihood of the HOD being in the last three sessions (US open, afternoon or early Asian) is 78%, i.e. a low to high trend day. So whilst the probability was higher for the trend to continue, the reward at this point was not worth the risk.

Both trades were in my game plan I executed to my rules. I didn't work with a daily bias today and to be honest I think this simpler approach may have value for me.

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 mokodo 
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No chart today as my 350 tick chart is about a mile long - lots of activity on the Euro after the 400 pip rip. My plan today was to keep wide stops as there was sure to be more volatility.

My first trade I got short in the down move in the London open. I missed the better entry of the morning (a pull back to ice) - didn't pull the trigger in time. I felt I was chasing the move a bit and although the entry was in line with my game plan and rule set, the move was running out of steam and I scratched it. That was a correct call as price reversed shortly afterwards. The ideal play was to have sat on my hands, but having missed the better entry I forced it.

Second trade was much better. An upthurst of the high of a range that had formed between 1.3070 - 1.3020. Again in line with my game plan and rule set. I gave this a chance to get moving, but it was stalling and with news due (US initial jobless claims) I scratched it. Again a good call as the news spike would taking me out.

The last trade of the day was a full stop out. I was playing for a long at this stage. There were good signs of strength coming in with 3 big pushes down from the HOD there was bear flag forming and I was expecting a pop off of the base at 1.3000. I don't really know what happen here, at the time I thought I was following my rule set, but on review the criteria were not met. Also I had an opportunity to scratch the trade with a loss of half my risk after I had given the trade ample time to prove itself, but I held on.

I felt performance anxiety creping in today and that, I think, effected my judgment toward the end of the day. I knew I was closing in on a circuit breaker rule and was focusing on that rather than executing trades.

The circuit breaker is 7 consecutive losing / scratched trades. And now I go to SIM until I can deliver a net profit for 2 sets of 7 trades. I welcome this opportunity as I could feel my monkey was taking over, and if I let him loose things are sure to get worse quickly. I realise I have gone live before I have enough confidence with my new approach. A spell in SIM to iron out the wrinkles, get my monkey back in its cage and most importantly preserve my capital is the right thing to do.

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 Adamus 
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Sounds tough but you're obviously doing the right thing. I stopped 3 weeks ago to sort out the rest of my life because all the psych stuff was wrong. It sounds like you're implementing the Inner Chimp stuff. That's a great analogy - I'll have to read the book, although it comes in at no. 6 on the list behind quite a few other reads I've got on my waiting list.

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 mokodo 
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Hi Adamus,

Thanks for chiming in. I think know what the current issue is, I've just been avoiding confronting it. So I am confronting it publicly right here.

I have a habit of over-complicating things. I start off with simple rules and slowly they become more intricate. I believe this may be a mechanism I use to not accept the risk I am taking on a trade by trade basis. I am happy to take stops so it is not the money factor that is driving this, it is the 'not wanting to be wrong' factor.

I have a time based stop and allow myself to scratch trades 'if they do not feel right'. These are just easy to find exit doors when I'm in a trade and do not like how I am feeling, whether that is a trade that never gets positive, or a positive one that stalls. So those features are out of my plan. I will come to break even after a decent move in my favour and trail a stop behind substantial highs/lows. But no more micro-management, I will either be stopped out or my targets will be hit. Simple to follow in theory.

I also know that I increasingly micro-manage as my weekly/monthly performance. The more I need a result the worse I trade. So getting rid of the ways to do this seems my only option. Cold turkey time!

I've trawled back through my journals and trade stats and can see another obvious problem. My trade plan is set-up to take on risk via stop placement to a maximum of 20% of the daily ATR(average of the last 14 days). So currently for the Euro that is no more than about 20 pips, and I can have tighter stops (to a minimum of 10 pips) if the price action allows for it.

Targets are then in two parts; 50% at x3R and 50% further out. So my whole approach is based on getting a trend day or a major swing in the day - and I very very rarely hold this long. In fact the only times I have are when I had to be away from my PC and had left the targets in place and returned to find the targets hit. I am often right on my game plan for the day and see trades I bailed out of making their targets - without me.

Only by making this change to trade management (or more accurately, lack of it) for a decent period will I be able to see the results and, if they are better, build my confidence in the change. So I'll be redrafting my trade plan making it far simpler and reward / penalise myself solely on my ability to stick to the process.

I am aiming initially for the 2 sets of 7 SIM trades as the first goal for sticking to the rules. Oh it sounds so easy.

1st of the SIM trades in play right now. Let's see how I do...

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 Adamus 
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You've got a totally different approach to sim trading from me. I'm not going to try real trading until I've proved I can produce a climbing equity curve in my sim account. I know there's a big jump in emotional terms going from sim to real, but if I can't do it in sim, there's no point even trying it live.

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 mokodo 
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I'd give myself an 8/10 for this trade. Entry was a pull back to ice after a weak morning and a nice big supply wave on the tick volume. My read was to possibly get us down to 1.3000 as price settled after the big up move earlier in the week.

Entry was perhaps a little early. I had a 15 pip stop and rode out the little test up before price broke down. My first target was at 45 pips which was hit to the pip (level was an axis line for the last day). I then pulled in my stop as price congested prior to the US open. That stop was taken out for +20, so combined for a 2R winner. My second target was at 1.3010, which would had been hit if I had just left the targets in place.

Very happy with the process and my discipline today.

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 Adamus 
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I'd give myself an 8/10 for this trade. Entry was a pull back to ice after a weak morning and a nice big supply wave on the tick volume. My read was to possibly get us down to 1.3000 as price settled after the big up move earlier in the week.

Entry was perhaps a little early. I had a 15 pip stop and rode out the little test up before price broke down. My first target was at 45 pips which was hit to the pip (level was an axis line for the last day). I then pulled in my stop as price congested prior to the US open. That stop was taken out for +20, so combined for a 2R winner. My second target was at 1.3010, which would had been hit if I had just left the targets in place.

Very happy with the process and my discipline today.

I assume you deducted two points from your perfect 10 because of your part 2 handling?

So you didnt move the stops to b/e either?

I'm not criticising, I'm just recognising the same thing I see in my trading. I do two part trades as well and I am dissatisfied with my trading plan definition for dealing with part two - officially I "manage it less strictly than part 1", which means essentially sweet FA. My history with part 2 trades is appalling.

Most of my part 2 trades are either exited at B/E or stopped out just like yours shortly before another big push in the right direction.

I have an idea to work out what the average bounce off an S/R level is and I'd put my part 2 stop a few points beyond that - the S/R level I mean is the one where the first target is.

"Average bounce" means the retrace before carrying on to break the level. I just need the time to go back over some historical charts and pull together some data to make a distribution curve of retrace sizes on S/R level breaks.

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Strato
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I enjoyed reading through some of your extensive trading journal. I am interested in starting Forex trading myself and am reading whatever I can on the subject. I ran across this link yesterday and read most of it (it's pretty short but full of Forex trading secrets and observations)



Marlin

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Strato
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Never mind. Something obvious you are already doing.

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I assume you deducted two points from your perfect 10 because of your part 2 handling?

So you didnt move the stops to b/e either?

I'm not criticising, I'm just recognising the same thing I see in my trading. I do two part trades as well and I am dissatisfied with my trading plan definition for dealing with part two - officially I "manage it less strictly than part 1", which means essentially sweet FA. My history with part 2 trades is appalling.

Most of my part 2 trades are either exited at B/E or stopped out just like yours shortly before another big push in the right direction.

I have an idea to work out what the average bounce off an S/R level is and I'd put my part 2 stop a few points beyond that - the S/R level I mean is the one where the first target is.

"Average bounce" means the retrace before carrying on to break the level. I just need the time to go back over some historical charts and pull together some data to make a distribution curve of retrace sizes on S/R level breaks.

Went to BE after +20 pips in the first leg down. And yes the idea with the 2 part trades is to get a substantial winner very occasionally - my current stats for this are woeful up to now. Again the better the outcome in this trade's instance would have been to set and forget the trade and yes the 2 points deducted would be the position of the trailing stop.

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 kronie 
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6J - after the Tokyo close

5:26am EST


we're at the point of indecision, in the 0.10030 - 0.10026 range and sinking lower,

however, this is where the tendency to rip you for -6 to -8 ticks

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6J - after the Tokyo close

5:26am EST


we're at the point of indecision, in the 0.10030 - 0.10026 range and sinking lower,

however, this is where the tendency to rip you for -6 to -8 ticks

Hi kronie,

Wondered if you could expand on this comment, as I don't understand. Thanks in advance

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Hi kronie,

Wondered if you could expand on this comment, as I don't understand. Thanks in advance


6J analysis


of current conditions at that time stated

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 mokodo 
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I start at 10am UK time on Monday's so the down move was about in the middle of the predicted range by this time. The only other trade I could have taken was a long off the lower band, but this broke up very quickly on news and I did not get a signal to enter on.

So did my job well again today.

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 mokodo 
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The levels I had in place after doing my pre-session prep and game plan were a bit off today. The lower of these two bands was actually my upper band when I started trading (yesterday's high) and I was looking for shorts when price fell under and with ease of downward movement and decent supply coming in. After a low volume pullback and the MACD histogram rolling over I took the short with a 15 pip stop. As per my rule set I came to breakeven 5 minutes prior to a substantive news event (German ZEW survey) and was taken out for a breakeven.

The rest of the day was a bit frustrating as I had a read on the price action but just did not get a valid set-up to get on board.

After the change of behaviour with the demand coming in off the LOD I was waiting for a low volume secondary test of the spring off the LOD, but didn't get one. There after I had a couple of other long trades that nearly set-up but could not take them as not all the criteria were met.

I put in the upper band after demand came in off the LOD and that acted as a good level to work out the price action for the rest of the session.

I can already feel the benefit of being as close to 100% rule led, as opposed to the looser approach I was slipping into.

I did my job well again today.

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 mokodo 
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10/10 for sticking to my 'stop or target' rule today. 2 stop losses to report.

The first was very poor execution. The image shows where I had set my lower band after doing my pre-session prep. The strong supply wave drove into and exceeded this level at the London open. I did not adjust the band so was working of this rather than the LOD. I have no idea why I did not adjust it.

I then took a short thinking that there was a break of the ice and a low volume pull back. The price action preceding the entry was looking bearish to me. There was a great big upwave in the middle of the channel which took an hour to build and didn't push price up, there was no ease of movement and a lack of reward for the effort exerted. Following that were two no demand waves and some ease of movement down. But as I say the entry was above the LOD and this set-up should happen after a break of the LOD and pull back to the prior support.

So an execution error there. But then I messed up as I had noted in my game plan a red news event at 13:30 and my rules say close off 5 minutes prior if a trade is underwater. I missed this and the news spike took me out. I took a full stop when I could have taken a -1/2R loss.

The second trade was just about OK for rationale. We had a decent move down through support and consolidated. I took an entry off my MACD histogram with the signal line still showing a downtrend as we came into overbought in the trend channel. There were some signs of strength evident (a spring and lack of effort for reward on a preceding downwave), but the current trend takes precedence until there is a clear change of behaviour. That happened shortly afterwards and I was stopped out. I was itching to scratch the trade as I knew I had called it wrong after one price rotation, but I am focusing solely on developing discipline for setting stops and targets for this series of SIM trades. It was getting late and after 2 stop outs I called it a day.

A few notes to self today about trade selection and concentration. I have 3 more trades in this set of 7 SIM trades to show a profit and am flat after 4. But more importantly I mark myself 9/10 for not meddling with the trades once they are in the market. And that tells me I am accepting the risk and committing to my trade ideas better.

Could have done my job better today, but still happy with the progress.

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 Adamus 
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Hi Mokodo, tough day yesterday for you. Hope you get something out of it. I wanted to ask about your entry rules because I'm still not definitely clear what triggers your entry. Your first entry was volume-based, right? I know what no-demand waves are, but I'm not sure what you mean by effort - is that purely high volume you're referring to?

Just my 2 British pence worth as well, I recognise (but might be wrong) a kind of over-compensation in you that I suffer from all the time. I focus on something too much (I'm thinking of your focus on not meddling with positions) and then I find that causes subconscious damage when I take losses but think 'that's good, because at least I'm not doing X'. The subconscious damage comes out as fear and excessive nervousness later on in different situations.

So I try to (and am not good at) reining in my enthusiasm to implement a new psych approach, to find the right balance from the word go. It's a masterstroke if you can get it right and more often than not I find myself lurching from one extreme to another. I don't know what your Inner Chimp says about it, but I'd love to know. I don't think there's an easy solution.

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 mokodo 
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Hi Mokodo, tough day yesterday for you. Hope you get something out of it. I wanted to ask about your entry rules because I'm still not definitely clear what triggers your entry. Your first entry was volume-based, right? I know what no-demand waves are, but I'm not sure what you mean by effort - is that purely high volume you're referring to?

Just my 2 British pence worth as well, I recognise (but might be wrong) a kind of over-compensation in you that I suffer from all the time. I focus on something too much (I'm thinking of your focus on not meddling with positions) and then I find that causes subconscious damage when I take losses but think 'that's good, because at least I'm not doing X'. The subconscious damage comes out as fear and excessive nervousness later on in different situations.

So I try to (and am not good at) reining in my enthusiasm to implement a new psych approach, to find the right balance from the word go. It's a masterstroke if you can get it right and more often than not I find myself lurching from one extreme to another. I don't know what your Inner Chimp says about it, but I'd love to know. I don't think there's an easy solution.

Thanks for the questions and input. On the entry rules..

1. I do my pre-session prep and decide where my bands will go. These are typically (but not always) at yesterday's high/low or close or at other SR levels. I want to do business around these levels. The only exception is where I think we are in a trend and I'll try to get in on a retracement.

2. I have 3 set-ups. i) The retracement I mentioned is simply a rolling over of my 3/10/16 MACD histogram (in an uptrend where the red histogram drops from light to dark red or in a downtrend from light to dark green); ii) a spring or upthrust. This is a penetration of a previous SR and a strong move away and weak secondary test, iii) a pull back to ice or creek, this is a break out from a range and pull back to the previous extreme of the range and a move away. Depending on the context ii) and iii) can be trend continuation or reversal set-ups.

3. My actual trigger for getting in once the criteria are set-up in most cases is the MACD histogram as previously described, although I will also get in on a no demand or no supply wave too.

4. There is a layer of context that I overlay to the mechanical entry rules which is Wyckoff/David Weiss based. The effort vs reward concept you asked about is one such element. This is usually seen as price bars struggling to make progress on high volume/trade activity. Usually gives the price wave a shallow angle and the duration of such waves can be relatively long . So the interpretation of lots of effort and no reward is that there is active selling in that up wave (or vice versa for a down wave). And is a sign of weakness which may lead to a turning point in price. It will take me many years I think to get all the nuances of Wyckoff but the approach makes sense to me so far.

Hope that answers your question about the entries.

On the psych side of things, yes we are all guilty I'm sure of being generals fighting the last battle. My situation is that this episode of trading - if it shows no tangible progress - is likely to be my last. After 3 years of serious (albeit part-time) study and false starts I have a year full time to get some traction or stop.

I looked back through my various stats and if I had just set targets and stop and left the trades alone I would be a profitable trader, actually doing fairly well. So for me this is the key thing to address, obviously it isn't as cut and dried as that. I'm hoping the losses will not effect me as I am trying to get back to a brutally disciplined and patient approach. (I did manage this before for a spell, but after getting enough stats together, came to the view I was being disciplined and patient with a losing system!).

So I am focusing as far as I possibly can on the process and thinking about the results as little as I can. I think the set and forget approach is a good one as:
  • you have to be discerning in trade selection, as with guaranteed full stop losses when you are wrong you'll get to daily/weekly loss limit quicker
  • you have to completely accept the risk in the trade. The more likely outcome is that you will lose your stake, so get use to accepting the risk
  • not having to agonise over every wiggle means you can get away from the screen. I am taking the view with the test that my job finishes when I put the trade on. All the trade management is in the ATM.
  • not having a time based or 'just scratch the trade' exit means there are fewer opportunities to consider which may inhibit negative trading cycles (as long as you can overcome boredom trades).
  • by setting a profit target you are saying this is the reward I want for my idea being correct. By not managing (meddling) with the trade you will not get in the habit of 'discounting' your ideas. I want to sell my ideas for the price I wanted when I put the trade on, discounters fight on tighter and tighter margins and need volume for the model to work. Position yourself in the premium market with the best margins.
That all said I do think there is a place for trade management, time based stops etc., but in my case I will only attend to this once I know I can consistently apply the set and forget approach.

And yes my inner chimp is boxed up right now. He and I have been having words and he agrees with me we would both be happier when we see some improvement, so will do his best not to sabotage our efforts.

Thank you once more for your questions, answering them really does help me clarify things in my our mind. Happy trading to you.

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 Adamus 
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Yes, very informative, I'll be able to read your entries better knowing that.

Re: the managing positions, my main thought was that I would still allow myself to pull out of a trade if I identified a mistake mid-trade, where the mistake was crass enough to invalidate the entry premise. I figured that might have been what happened to you in your first trade yesterday, but you didn't say at what point you realised your error, or if you even thought it was an error.

The most cut and dried example would be entering because I accidentally dropped an entry order where it shouldn't go on the Ninja Chart Trader - it has happened to me. I have a whole list of errors that I log ranging from fat fingered human unco-ordination to technical problems to decision-making mistakes.

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 mokodo 
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Yes, very informative, I'll be able to read your entries better knowing that.

Re: the managing positions, my main thought was that I would still allow myself to pull out of a trade if I identified a mistake mid-trade, where the mistake was crass enough to invalidate the entry premise. I figured that might have been what happened to you in your first trade yesterday, but you didn't say at what point you realised your error, or if you even thought it was an error.

The most cut and dried example would be entering because I accidentally dropped an entry order where it shouldn't go on the Ninja Chart Trader - it has happened to me. I have a whole list of errors that I log ranging from fat fingered human unco-ordination to technical problems to decision-making mistakes.

Yes, I would get out of a trade where it is erroneous/fat-fingered. But for this test set if I take the trade in good faith believing it is a valid set-up (at the time I entered), then I will let it run - even if new information comes into the market which overturns my original premise. The reason for this (in addition to those I mentioned in my previous post) is that my approached can only be profitable if I get a decent swing in the day and occasionally a chunk of a trend day. To do that I need to develop my understanding of context, which is what Wyckoff is all about. So if I have the context right the trade is more likely to work out.

Regarding the trade yesterday, at the time I took it I believed it was a valid set-up, hindsight brought clarity that told me it wasn't. And by letting it run to a full stop I guess I am building up a picture of what doesn't work. See today's trade I'll post up shortly to watch the whole, thing happen again!

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 mokodo 
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Is it yesterday again today? I was looking for a short off of my upper band at the end of the London open, but didn't get a signal and then in the US open I did exactly the same as I did yesterday. I was looking for a (and this is going in capitals so I can remember it) CLEAR BREAK OF THE LEVEL AND AN OBVIOUS PULL BACK.

What we had was chop suey at the lows and the weakest interpretation of my set-up 'pull back to ice'. This was clearly a low activity day, and I had already written in my game plan that any set-up would have to be compelling to convince me a directional move was a realistic possibility.

So I 'saw' a break of the lows with a pull back and took the trade. This is an hour before news; an unlikely time to see movement given the progress of the day so far. 5 minutes prior to news I came out with a -0.75R loss.

So what have I learned from yesterday and today? On low volatility days such as yesterday and especially today I need to see obvious wave structure and price doing something definite around the key levels. Other than that it is just noise. I spent too much time watching the PA and was seeing information that didn't exist. Trade noise get spanked!

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 mokodo 
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At times like these I am glad I have a money management plan.

I've taken the approach I have to earn the right to trade live and then earn the right to increase size. I had earned the right to trade live in July as I had a profitable previous month on SIM. At the end of last week a circuit breaker kicked in as I had a run of 7 trades that showed an overall loss. That rule puts me back in SIM until I can have two runs of 7 which both show a profit.

The 2 losers today completes the first set of seven for an overall loss. Clearly I am not yet in the groove with my amended set-ups. I have been chasing, seeing set-ups that are not there, I think of the seven trades this week only 2 or 3 were valid as per my rule set. So the issue is with me.

I'll do some reviewing over the weekend and see else what comes to light.

Even though it has not been a great run I have stuck to my plan to let price take out my target or stop and feel there has been real progress there. I also have been guilty in the later half of the week of making a fairly accurate assessment of the market environment in my pre-session prep and game plan - and then conveniently ignoring it; just so I could place trades. Very clear in hindsight, just not at the time.

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 Adamus 
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Join the club (apparently it's a big one)

Have a good weekend, and good luck finding some answers...

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 mokodo 
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Someone asked me to breakdown my chart set-up, indis etc. So here it is, attached as a screen shot of the NT indicator window.

Price panel:
EURUSD
350 tick chart
anaPivotsDailyv37 to pick out yesterday's high, low and close
SwingRays to highlight SR levels
PriceActionSwingPro to time duration of each wave (same settings as the histogram in panel 3)
Key reversals; up and down
ColourTime region to highlight London and US opens.

Panel 2:
Background is an indi I coded to give me a snapshot of the broader market environment: chop, ADX low and high volatility, trending. TE60v2 is based of 60 minute bar data
Oscillator is a remnant of a system I bought years back. It is actually MACD with 3,10,16 settings (same as the LBR settings).

Panel 3:
Background is the market environment indi as above but referencing 30 min bar data
Histogram on top is PriceActionSwingOscillator. This is based on tick volume, an attempt to mimic the Weis Wave.

Panel 4:
Range

I've had to tweak the PriceActionSwing indi at deal with the way MB Trading report live vs historic tick data (thus the suffix '2').

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 mokodo 
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Last few days I've had a healthy step back to review and see what I could prioritise. It really was a cold hard look at my progress and current situation. And overall I am very happy where I am and grateful for the loses which prompted this 'stop and think'.

I believe I jumped in too soon trading cash with my amended set-ups. That is why (I think) I was scratching trades, over-thinking and generally getting in a fog. I had not built up enough of a track record to believe the system or trust myself.

So starting tomorrow I am taking a different tack. Ordinarily I define my set-ups in terms of criteria and then trade that rule set. This may be putting the cart before the horse as I am making assumptions that these set-ups are 'going to work'. Just because they are well-know or others report success does not mean they will work for me.

Much of the Wyckoff approach is about understanding context and whether there is strength or weakness in the background. The aim of the Wyckoff course(s), as I understand it, is to develop traders' intuition and judgement, not to spoon feed set-ups.

So in that spirit I am going back a step and spending some time in SIM keeping a running commentary on the trading day which will categorise price behaviour as either signs of strength or signs of weakness. At certain points the scales will tip and a change of behaviour will occur (long to short or vice versa) at which point I'll place trades if they occur at good R:R locations and in line with my daily game plan.

So rather than follow mechanical rules I'll try to understand whether bulls or bears have the upper hand and trade that way. I guess it is a way to 'speed date' a load of set-ups and see which ones I chime with. Hopefully out of the process and the stats the next step will become clear.

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 mokodo 
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Good week last week, I did the 'set-up speed dating' and went back through historic charts to apply the same process. All very worthwhile. I have feed in anything relevant to my trading plan and am now embarking on building up a decent sample size of trades in SIM.

I expect 2 months or more of this full time. My aim at the end of the process to i) build confidence and experience with the set-ups, ii) establish if I have an edge at all, iii) have a decent length of time applying the same rules and routines to test out my discipline of applying the trading plan.

What I am actually doing is accepting that there are no short cuts! On reviewing my journals and past episodes of trading I know I can be extremely disciplined in my routines, rules and execution. But this only tends to happen after building up a decent run of consistent process execution. And by process execution I mean limiting as many trading variables as possible so that the trades which are taken have more statistical value. For me this means working to an exact (and inflexible) daily/weekly timetable governed by tick lists and extending that into each and every trade. Without the evidence of live forward testing with the grey world of doubt and discretion all around I will not break the cycle of good trading / poor trading /tweaking / starting over.

I have always had a daily tick list, trade cards with a per trade checklist. I undertake a pre-session prep and write a game plan. I fill out a trade card per trade with metrics and emotional reactions and journal nearly continually every trading day. And do a battery of excel summary statistics. So the practical and tactical tools are there, but it is the rigor to stick unerring to the trading plan that slips and undermines the evidential value of the trades I do take.

I really do not care what the P&L outcome of the trades are for this exercise. I am attempting to focus purely on process execution.

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 mokodo 
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Game plan was range bound between 1.3295-1.3240. I would take range fades (upthrusts or springs), or breakouts/downs on pullbacks to these levels after a clear break. Max stop today was 15 pips as daily 14 period ATR is now <100 for EURUSD.

Upper band (yesterday's high) was pierced just as the US open was coming up. Even though this looked like a committed break of the level (wide range bars going boldly through), it looked climatic and my read was the trade activity would stop the move. I entered on the first no demand signal once I saw supply coming in. The entry looks late as the wave volume indi that I use actually repaints. The stop is 15 pips, I am using a 2R target, 30 pips away which is just inside earlier daily low. After a spell of distribution (in the protracted upwave after my entry - which lasted an hour and came within 2 pips of my stop) the breakdown came and ran to target in under an hour.

Here's a 5 pip renko chart of the current range which shows some interesting activity levels..



The blue band I've added picks out the high tick volume bricks from the last three days. At these levels yesterday and today there has been distribution, with sellers taking all that the buyers would supply in the 1.3280-90 range. Of course it 's only clear that this is case once the breakout/down has occurred! But with news flow in the rest of the week I'll be interested to see what happens at this level (if we get back there)

And most importantly completed the first trade in the sample sticking rigidly to all my rules. Well done me.

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 mokodo 
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Same game plan and pretty much the same trade as yesterday. Price upthrusted a swing high of yesterday at the end of the London open (looked climatic) and then sellers overcame the buyers - as evidenced by the large supply wave. My entry was a no demand wave at 1.3278. A 15 pip stop with a 30 pip target, just above the earlier LOD. On the next leg target was missed by 1 pip and I had to wait for a another 80 minutes for the target to be filled.

So that is the second trade in the sample and very pleased with the way I diligently followed my plan, routine and rules today. And another 2R winner.

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 Adamus 
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Mokodo, if you'd been flat at 13:00 would you have gone short then?

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 mokodo 
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Mokodo, if you'd been flat at 13:00 would you have gone short then?

No. The set-up for the trade I took is a test of the range high and no demand after supply has come in. So I do not have a set-up to get short at the point you mention.

My view on shorting the retracement at 13:00GMT would be: news at 13:15 and 13:30 may make the trade risky, also the entry at that point - if you allow for price to turn and get confirmation - is pretty much in the middle of the range that existed at that moment. And you know that adage 'don't fiddle with the middle'.

I felt uncomfortable taking my trade today as the entry was getting away from the upper band, but was just about inside the top third of the range.

Hope that answers your question? And thanks for asking it.

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And you know that adage 'don't fiddle with the middle'.

I didn't, but I do now

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 mokodo 
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Only potential trade for me today was before I had finished my pre-session prep and therefore passed on it. Rest of the day was quiet prior to news and then volatility that went nowhere. No set-ups revealed themselves, and I did well to resist the urge to get involved. Adhered to the plan like glue today.

Another improvement to my routine this week has been being able to limit my screen time. I have tweaked an indicator that sends an email when price gets to a certain level and I get this to my phone with a custom alert.

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 mokodo 
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Game plan today was to go long off a rejection of yesterday's low or a break and pullback through the range high at 1.3225. Neither happened two hours prior to NFP numbers so I wrapped up the day and week as I don't trade big news or the latter half of Fridays.

So first week done applying my rules and routines are tightly as I can. The result is just two trades, both winners and 4R total. That is fine by me.

Looking forward to next week.

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 mokodo 
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Game plan today was to short a rejection of the upper band at 1.3295 or a break of the ice (lower band) and pull back to 1.3265. I was close to entering a short under the upper band, all was looking good, but there was too much demand in the upwave so not valid as per my rule set - but I was itching to take it.

Entry candle after a break and retest of ice was a wide range bar so I entered at the 50% point on the minor retracement with a 15 pip stop. 1st target was at 1.3223, just above the area where buyers overcame sellers on the NFP release last Friday; 2nd target just inside Friday's low.

Came to breakeven once price had advanced 1R and was taken out for a breakeven.

I noticed in this trade there was a selling climax at the bottom of the 3rd leg down (1.3233). That stopped the down move and from there other signs of strength came in: lack of supply, violation of both trend channels, demand came in and ease of movement up. I am noticing the impact that stopping volume can have in arresting a trend either temporarily or permanently.

In hindsight the range on Friday may have pointed to a narrow range today so the better game plan may have been to be more aggressive on entries + modest profit targets. The trading plan I am testing allows no flexibility in this regard but I like the idea of considering marginal trades where the reward is worth the increased risk - possibly something for further down this road...

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 mokodo 
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Game plan today was to be on the watch out for a volatility breakout and play for a trend day with wider profit targets if I could get in early.

Armed with this plan I entered short as price took a run above yesterday's close during the last Asian session and rejected that level with supply coming in. I went short after the first no demand wave. This was the low of the day. I was happy with this trade (in hindsight). The game plan for anticipating some volatility was correct, and the preference to commit early to get as much of the move also correct - but the direction wrong. But I did feel I had rushed the trade, I had not quite finished my pre-session prep and didn't want to miss out. Still believe I would have taken it.

As this test in the London open reversed I was shifting my bias long. The solid buying in the demand wave up to the upper band set the tone for the rest of my session. I wanted to get long on a pull back to the creek (1.3265) but the demand wave that jumped the creek had no initial retracement and the supply wave that eventually did bring price back was too large and I felt buyers had not put up much of a fight, so I stayed out.

I did get long in the US open. Price had breached the HOD and was consolidating. I entered after 3 pushes down off that high with a 10 pip stop as MACD was rolling over. Target was 30 pips at 1.3321. Then shot myself in the foot. I brought my stop to breakeven with news at 15:00GMT. This was GBP news that would not increase risk to this trade (EURUSD) - I used it as an excuse to lock in a risk free trade. As you can see the target would have been filled. Whilst it is in my rules to manage a trade 5 minutes prior to news it's clearly only applicable to relevant news.

Another notable observation today is the HOD was after 3 legs up with a buying climax at the very top (I have a separate chart tracking 5 minute tick volume from which I evaluate buying/selling climaxes). This coincided with two demand waves, the second showing lack of reward for the effort with an upthrust at the high. I've include this as a set-up to be included in this sample test. Eyeballing the last 40 or so days EURUSD action indicates there may be some value in using buying and selling climaxes (in the correct context) as set-ups.

Overall I am fairly happy with my performance today. My levels and game plan were pretty good, just poor work on the long trade. I am wondering if I would just do better to remove any options to manage trades from my trading plan and have to 'set and forget' in every case unless I was reversing my position.

Net result was -1R today. From a process point of view, a little shaky. From experience I expect this is down to a few days of no trades/breakeven. This is when I tend to focus on results not process, so I will be more attuned to this tomorrow.

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 Adamus 
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Did you read the recent conversation on PandaWarrior's journal? I found it very thought-provoking. Where to place stops, whether to go to B/E etc etc.

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 mokodo 
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Did you read the recent conversation on PandaWarrior's journal? I found it very thought-provoking. Where to place stops, whether to go to B/E etc etc.

I'll take a look, thanks

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 mokodo 
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After the double top with no demand on the second peak in the London open I was looking to short on a break and pullback to ice in the middle band at 1.3295 (this level has been important for a good few days now). A convincing pullback never came.

The down move did not progress and when there was shortening of the thrust into the LOD (also where price is oversold in two trend channels) I was considering a long. It's a good time in the session to get a reversal. The 1.3270 level is where buyers overcame sellers at the breakout yesterday so were there still buyers there today? Lots of tick volume at the low said there were, and the demand wave, the following no supply wave and price violating the trend channel put the odds in favour that the buyers may win out again.

I went long with a stop under the LOD (15 pips). My game plan said if we did get a reversal after the London open it may really get moving as EURUSD structure has been threatening a breakdown but none has yet come, each time it looks likely it doesn't happen - so someone is buying. And if too many are short there will be stops up above. So I played for a potential trend day with a profit target at 1.3308 (HOD at that point) and another floating way up there and to be managed later.

Then my monkey came out to play.

I brought in my first stop 8 pips to the top of the trend channel. Good lord man have you no patience! Happy with how the trade went thereafter. There was an almighty demand wave to the 1.3320 level (buying climax) and then a 50% retracement. The amount of demand off the lows gave me the confidence to hold for the rest of the session. The trend day didn't materialise as anticipated so at 17:00GMT I came out for a 2R winner.

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 Adamus 
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....
Then my monkey came out to play.

I brought in my first stop 8 pips to the top of the trend channel. Good lord man have you no patience! .....

You got me confused here. Do you mean your target? What was the issue? You weren't confident it was going further?

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 mokodo 
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You got me confused here. Do you mean your target? What was the issue? You weren't confident it was going further?

Thanks for the question.

Yes, the original profit target was 8 pips further away, I brought it closer to my entry as I 'needed' to get a 'result' on the board. Daft because the move had great momentum and showed no sign of stopping. So I discounted my idea and needlessly gave some profit away. Although I did not mention it in the post reviewing yesterday's trading, I also did this with the second target, although the trick I played on myself was more subtle with this one. The second profit target was originally at 1.3338 and I closed via a trailing stop which I think I set purposely too close so that it would be hit. So the 2R winner, could have been a 3R winner - if I had stuck pre-trade profit targets.

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 mokodo 
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A good day. Game plan was actually fairly loose. I put on the lower two bands to frame the overnight action and just went with the price action thereafter. The strong close and other action yesterday could have made me more bullish, but I choose to stay unbiased.

First trade was short on an upthrust after a swift breakout to new highs with the key element of a buying climax (from 5 minute tick volume). I went short as price rolled over. I did not really have an exact entry rule here (I am exploring this by taking some trades), just went in with a stop above the highs of 15 pips. Targets were ambitious. I proudly thought I had called the top and dropped a target 3R away and another below that. Yes here was the home run. After a couple of legs down and some decent supply coming in, a bear flag looked like it was forming. What was actually happening was buyers again absorbing. As price has run 1R in my favour the stop was at breakeven and that was taken outas price popped back up.

I'm thinking these trades will more likely be countertrend and perhaps could consider getting in earlier with a tight stop and still get 2R+ or better on 20 pips retracement such as this. I'll keep testing them out and see where we go.

Once I had worked out buyers were happily grinding price up I was looking for longs. The second trade was a MACD with trend entry. It didn't get going before the initial jobless numbers were due so I scratched it a few minutes before the release.

Then, the mistake of the day, which was I completely missed another bite at the cherry, another MACD entry signal on the next rotation - or a spring entry. Yes two signals at the same time and I honestly did not see either setting up. Then a nice 40 pip swing. Sigh.

Although no improvement to the P&L, I am marking today as a good day, just feels that a few more pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place. Hard to explain, but I think focusing on just one instrument for the last few months has helped me get right into the details of my method. And perhaps Gary Player was right - 'the more I practice, the luckier I get'.

Stuck to my rules again and called the market pretty well too.

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 mokodo 
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Game plan Friday was to expect consolidation or a range to play out. I took a long on a MACD signal expecting a test of yesterday's high and possibly the longer term resistance at the 1.3410-1.3420 level. There was a spring of the middle band at that point which gave me some confidence. But as soon as I entered I scratched the trade because I had entered late (about 6 pips) and I saw we were in the middle of the range between my upper too bands. A guiding rule is to enter near the bands and I was clearly in no man's land. The trade was not in my rule set so it was valid to get straight out.

I was not on my toes as the action in the London open was slow and was definitely not alert enough to risk my capital. After the scratched trade I stopped trading. Kids holidays here and a better use of my time and money was to take a family trip to the movies. Great fun.

On reviewing the action after the close looks like a couple of short set-ups were available, a pull back to ice and later a MACD trend trade, both at the 1.3360 level and after we had broken the demand line of the longer term rising trend channel.

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 mokodo 
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Don't trade until 10:00GMT on Mondays - and had to shut down by 14:00. Even so there was some tradable action, I just didn't commit to the trade opportunity. I've marked a short entry it on the chart with a blue dot.

The signal was a with-trend short, entering on the MACD histogram rolling over. The context that said this trade had a good chance of working out was:

- yesterday's close was at the daily low = expect more weakness this morning
- solid supply wave through the London open
- up waves off the oversold level in the trend channel showed no ease of upward movement = sellers active
- 3 pushes up into resistance at 1.3309

All this said go short. So why didn't I? My routine is to do my pre-session prep, write a game plan and decide any key levels for the day. My game plan said range or a momentum down day. Then I added in my levels. The short entry was close to the lower band and I think I was 'expecting' a range to form off this level - simply because I have placed it on the chart. What a ludicrous idea!

The bands are helpful for me to frame price and to remember where key levels are likely to be in the heat of battle. What I have found though is that they work better when framing a range - for obvious reasons. I believe if the lower band was not on the chart I would of taken the short. The lesson is the prevailing trend trumps most other considerations. The daily trend at this point was short so I could take the short signal. Something to mull over.

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 mokodo 
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No trades today. I've a couple of days prior to a much awaited family holiday for the test of the month. Thought the best use of my time for the rest of this week was a review, which I've already started. As always extremely illuminating to trawl back through the journal, trade cards and screen shots.... And so far have spotted the following:
  • A pretty good spell, considering I am testing out my amended trade plan. Actually very happy with how I have developed.

  • Old habit creeping back in - over complicating my entry rules. Rather than build up a understanding of the price action and enter on a nice clean set up, I have been adding tick box after tick box. The result has often been delay or confusion at the time of commitment. I think a clearer way forward is to track the key features of the price action as the day unfolds and when I have the cards stacked in my favour (i.e. context & confluence) I can trade a simple set-up with a entry signal I can not mis-interpret. I can easily strip down the existing set-ups and apply a simple oscillator entry.

  • Because of the extra conditions I layered on over time I have filtered out more good trades than bad - speaks volumes about 'not wanting to be wrong'.

  • Looks like I am more relaxed the tighter the stop I have. I have never had a problem taking a stop and have never moved one either. I would like to test out using slightly tighter stops, the PA on the Euro certainly allows for tighter stops than I currently use and looking at my MAE figures, on average, I could bring them in. If I do this, perhaps I will be less precious about any individual trade as I'll be able to dial down the risk to an 'I don't care' amount.

  • I had hoped that I would be taking more signals over the last few weeks. I've been too selective and have not really got a decent sample together. I will reset this process on return from my holiday and aim to be more aggressive.

  • I've found that by focusing on the one instrument I've been able to identify more subtle clues in the price action. Some of these features (e.g absorption prior to break out, climax reversal) I have been pretty good at spotting, so I think I'd like to incorporate set-ups to test whether they are tradeable features or not.

  • There is definitely a shift in my confidence in the last few months. Whilst there is a lot of work to do on the details I no longer fret that I will end up back at square one, or two. That was the phase I was in previously, where I would make some progress and somehow slip back and feel again and again that I was making such slow progress! Now I believe with my current skills, experience and methodology - and across a decent sample size - I would not lose money.

  • Have enjoyed the process of trading for the purpose of building up a decent sample of trades to review - rather than approaching the SIM trading with an eye on paper profits. If I can find a way to bring this mentality over to live trading I think it could be helpful. Focus on the process, don't worry about the result.

  • Linked to the above, I am doing away with ideas of profit targets for the month. These have been in the back of my mind, I suppose I needed to see a monthly return to prove to me and others I was 'succeeding'. But such ideas can only skew results downwards.

  • Very recently started working with a trade buddy. So far I've found this an excellent way to have my methods and ideas challenged. In fact this review was prompted by being unable to provide clear answers!

  • Overall I have been (for me at least) incredibly chilled out - serene even. For the last few months I've enjoyed my trading more and combined that with more quality time with my family.

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 Adamus 
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mokodo View Post
  • Old habit creeping back in - over complicating my entry rules. Rather than build up a understanding of the price action and enter on a nice clean set up, I have been adding tick box after tick box. The result has often been delay or confusion at the time of commitment. I think a clearer way forward is to track the key features of the price action as the day unfolds and when I have the cards stacked in my favour (i.e. context & confluence) I can trade a simple set-up with a entry signal I can not mis-interpret. I can easily strip down the existing set-ups and apply a simple oscillator entry.

I like your aim - build up an understanding of the price action - and that's what I try to do.

At the set-ups in real-time for me, I don't see clear entry signals. I enter when I have seen enough to convince me that there's going to be a move out of the set-up in a particular direction. Of course in hindsight I see clear signals, without doubt, but I don't consider them 'clear' in real-time at the time. I'm simplifying my approach but essentially that is the crux of it.

I just try to observe all the market behaviour as it happens, so that my subconscious can work it out and when something is about to happen, I'll get a feeling about it and with training, it will become a good risk. The subconscious is much quicker and more successful than the conscious mind at this sort of multi-variate analysis.

If I'm confused while watching a set-up, it's because my subconscious has either not been trained enough to know, or it hasn't seen enough.

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 mokodo 
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Hi Adamus,

Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I hear you. Very much the way I am viewing things, been moving in this direction for a while I think. I still will be using simple set-ups and a mechanical entry signal, but the decision to pull them out of the tool box will be driven by interpretation of context and price action rather than mechanical rules. Guess it's an attempted shift to start trusting my experience via subjective analysis, rather than putting the 'responsibility' on a set of mechanical rules.

When are you planning to start up your trading / journaling again?

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Your charts are quite colorful

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Hi Adamus,

Guess it's an attempted shift to start trusting my experience via subjective analysis, rather than putting the 'responsibility' on a set of mechanical rules.

All of my trading uses very systematic entry rules. To me, this is crucial because my only ability to genuinely test if I am right or wrong is to have mechanical entries - otherwise, how will I ever know if I just got lucky?

Because making money in the market is completely based on statistics, then I need accurate statistics of the probability of my entry technique working out. Therefore, no matter what, and no matter how bad I "feel" about the trade, I still take the entry if it is sets up. I have found that time and again my brain has told me not to enter the trade but my entry rules did tell me to enter the trade and I was very very happy to have done so at the end.

For me, I don't think, I just trade. The purpose of my brain is for strategy development - but then, after the strategy is developed, I stop thinking and I allow the strategy to tell me what to do.

When I feel like doing discretionary trading, then I gladly will manage my trade based on how I feel, what the market is doing, how much money I need that month, etc. But my entries are always very mechanical.

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All of my trading uses very systematic entry rules. To me, this is crucial because my only ability to genuinely test if I am right or wrong is to have mechanical entries - otherwise, how will I ever know if I just got lucky?

You trade in sim for long enough to build up a track record and that will give you the stats you need. If your subconscious is giving you poor decisions (feelings) about entries, it's because you haven't trained enough with the aim of using your subconscious. It should also be better if you stick to one market and time-frame.

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When are you planning to start up your trading / journaling again?

September. I've been working on my indicators and I'm almost done now - at last - I needed to be able to jump back to old charts and have the support and resistance quickly visible, otherwise it takes too long and I don't do it, skipping out on basic research that I really have to do.

Like you I am also away for the second half of August - if I don't remember to say later, have a great time!

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Another great day reviewing, and a few more notes follow. Actually glad I wasn't trading today, looks like the Euro will put in a 40 pip range, the 14 day ATR is something around 85. Would have been a challenge to squeeze much out of that. Oh those lucky cable traders.

Review notes...

Taking a step back and asking myself why am I day trading (as opposed to swing trading or other approaches). It takes a lot of time and mental energy, so I asked myself is it worth it? My answer is: only if I have a number of decent trade opportunities regardless of the type of day that gets served up. I will measure this by comparing the number of pips I achieve per day/week/month vs the range of the day/week/month. This will be a proxy for the number of tradeable swings I can exploit.

I tend to do better when I have clear goals. This amend and test phase is necessary for me now, but I want to introduce a self-competitive element to add to the interest. I like the challenge of focusing on the 'process' but I also respond well to marking myself against previous efforts. I have looked at some options and will track the following to add a bit of spice:

- Pain ratio (MFE vs MAE)
- Minimum of 2 trades a day - even a day like today in the Euro had a couple of tradeable swings, I want to push myself to be risk-seeking
- Maximum R:R trade. In the last three years the best R:R is 3.5. On a solid trend day, say 100 pips+ it will be possible to better this, so I'm looking to stretch this all time best each month, and have out there on the horizon the goal of a 10R trade.
- Accuracy % 50% or better. I have averaged less than this, around 35% historically.
- Time on the screen less than 180 minutes a day. Perhaps an odd one at first glance. Obviously you need to watch the price to get in the flow, but I find too much screen time and I lose my freshness and focus. I wish to work towards setting up my day and then attending to the charts/trades at areas of interest, in line with my game plan. After an hour of set-up, 3 hours seems a happy balance and with an hour or two post session journaling, adds up to less time than a conventional job, which means more time with my family.
- Number of full stops vs full targets

Some great traders on futures.io (formerly BMT) have the ability to reverse a position and to scale in. I will work towards incorporating these two features in my trading. To me they appear hallmarks of excellent traders.

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I've made a point at the end of the day (for the last couple of months) of printing out colour charts for my trade chart (350 tick), 5 point renko, 60 min, 5 min and a 15 chart from the CME for the 6E. All these have my key indicators on them.

At the start of the next day's session I go through each and note up the PA features I look for - and compare that to my journal and what I saw in real time. The 'accuracy gap' between the two shows me where I need to get better. There are some features I get right pretty consistently and some I'm not so good at. I must admit I like getting hold of a piece of paper and pencil now and again.

Yesterday I trawled through every chart and spotted something I think I will be testing out. I am getting better at tracking the features that show signs of weakness/strength and my plan is to commit to a trade when I have a good hand. On a fair proportion of trades I have spotted the trade before - sometimes well before - the actual entry. And sometimes I would pass on the trade because the R:R was not appealing, due to price having got away.

The idea then is to make judgments balancing two factors, i) how many good cards am I holding, ii) what is the risk:reward at each moment I hold them.

In this scenario it may be that the hand is ok, and one more feature would make it great, AND the R:R at that moment is excellent. I've read some post regarding taking price or confirmation risk and I guess this what I am discussing, get in earlier with less confirmation but with a much better potential payoff.

Again the trade off is: rigidity which allows proper bench marking vs flexibility to trade more based on intuition/experience. As long as I track everything I do I am sure a balance can be struck.

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Great family holiday for the last couple weeks. Have stolen a few more hours to review journals, re-read some key texts and generally clarified what I am applying myself to for the next few months.

That process has manifested itself in a few tweaks to the trading plan, routines and procedures; but really very minor changes there.

Re-read Trading In The Zone and noted it up. Struck me how little I actually took on board when I first read it (a couple of years ago). I thought I had believed and integrated those key ideas that struck me as important - but obvious to me now I have only paid lip service to the effort necessary to really 'get' an idea and work it into my own psyche.

So watched EURUSD today and will do likewise tomorrow to get back in the groove. And starting up the SIM trading for September to start a fresh batch of sample trades.

My monkey is happy and behaving well - so let's trade!

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Had planned on just watching today, but I actually got through all my 'trading orientation' very quickly. It actually just took a few hours to click back into the routine.

Game plan today was to watch for a reversal or range around 1.3165. Even though there was an initial drop at the start of the London open, HTF looked tired for shorts at this point. The entry was a spring following shortening of the downward thrust, oversold in the trend channel and then the highest demand wave of the day off the lows, entry was on the no supply bar. I nailed the entry as judged by the MACD histogram. Stop was 10 pips, PT 20 pips which was inside the HOD.

Stop came to breakeven once the trade advanced 1R in my favour and then was stopped out. MFE was 13, MAE 6.

Once price broke the ice after the ISM numbers I was looking for shorts and - error no. 1 - did not take a pull back to ice set-up. I simply hesitated as the pullback showed ease of upward movement and as price got away from that entry price I did the right thing by sitting on my hands and did not chase it.

Stopped my session just after that.

Adding this to remind me what lies behind hesitation....

"Hesitating or skipping trades because I KNOW the trade will be a loser. I can not KNOW what will happen in the future, anything can happen. Let go of the trade outcome and just read and react to what is happening."

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No trades for me to add to the sample pot today. Game plan was to look for longs off the range base at 1.3160-65, and after hours of slow-motion ping-pong we got a break and a nice 50 pip swing. Alas without me as I did not get a signal to take advantage of it.

There was lots of context to get long towards the end of the US open, building on top of the price action from yesterday but nearly getting a signal is not a reason to take a trade. So feels odd to say it, but well done me for not taking the trade!

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A tortured first half of the session - and a good finish.

I'll preface this post with a reminder that I am in SIM for at least September with the purpose of forward testing my current trade plan/routines/set-ups etc. Some of the set-ups I've used a similar form for years and others are new. Most are based on Wyckoff/David Weis.

Game plan was to use the level from yesterday 1.3165 and the asian high 1.3220, work off those and see what happens as various news and the ECB press conference hit the wires after the US open.

Towards the end of the London open I either skipped a trade or it did not fit my rule set. That's discretionary trading! I was looking for a long after price accepted 1.3165, saw some demand and wanted in on a pull back. It came but I chose to pass as the proper place for the stop did not give me an attractive R:R. I am working towards getting my initial risk down, which means tighter stops, but have always looked for local swing high/low to tuck the stop against and it's not always the case you get both. So I am working out what is generally better - taking all trades which look good, or passing on those where a tight stop does not have PA protection. Decided to track this for the course of the SIM period to get some hard facts.

1st trade was a straight knifing. One of the (new) test set-ups is to bravely counter-trade a buy/sell climax. For now I have a simple criteria which excludes the context. I know a climax will occur at the end of a move, I just want to track the feature and see where else it occurs and how I can use it. Result -1R and my hands are cut to ribbons.

2nd trade was drop dead gorgeous. The double top of the day's high with an upthrust, a 90 pip swing, straight through the ice. Then a 3 pushes retracement back to test the breakout area, just shy of the 50% mark. I got short with a 10 pip stop as the MACD rolled over and missed the entry just by 1 pip. Took half off at +25 and the rest off at +45, for a 3R winner, with a MAE of 3 pips. Oh if they could all be like that...

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 Adamus 
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Welcome back. Where did you go on holiday then?


mokodo View Post
Adding this to remind me what lies behind hesitation....

"Hesitating or skipping trades because I KNOW the trade will be a loser. I can not KNOW what will happen in the future, anything can happen. Let go of the trade outcome and just read and react to what is happening."

Just my 2 Euro cents but hesitation for me is 99% wanting a certain outcome rather than considering the loss. Of course I fear the loss as much as anyone but I am hesitant because my read of the PA is poor. For a while I decided to go with the hesitation and not count it as an error, and I had one period of 2 weeks or so with only 1 or 0 trades per day, instead of 4, and they were all winners. Obviously that's a small sample size but I keep thinking about it. I gave up on this low volume trading approach because I wasn't satisfied with the no-trade days.

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